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On the Street: How has the economy affected you?

By Amy Mitchell  

savingmoneyIn this difficult economy, small businesses in Jacksonville are finding practical ways to stay in business. Advantage Magazine asked five small business owners if they have you made changes in their business to accommodate changes in the economy. All five said they had, and told us what they have done.

3-point formula

Since you’re asking about change, I thought I would share my favoriteedmonds-cropped-smaller “change” quote with you: “Change is good, you go first!” We made some decisions to weather the storm using the following formula:

  • Informed. We stay abreast of what is happening in the marketplace. We listen to experts and economists and we make plans based on the marketplace data.
  • Cash is king. We monitor our cash position religiously and take all necessary actions to maintain a positive cash flow.
  • Training. When times are slow, this is a good time to sharpen our saws. We are using this downturn in the economy to improve the skills of our people.

— Greg A. Edmonds, president/CEO
Ellis & Associates Inc., consulting engineers
www.ellisassoc.com,

 

Buying opportunities

peter-litskyLike many companies, we [Army Navy Outdoors] started with cutting expenses and inventory. To combat declining sales in some categories, we have been taking advantage of buying opportunities so we can offer more values to our customers. This economy has created a vast surplus in manufacture deals if you know where to look.

We are expanding categories that are more value-orientated and specific to our brand. In departments where our competition has decreased in the market, we are growing our selection, which gives us greater market share. We are making sure our sales staff create relationships with customers to bring them back into the stores.

— Peter Litsky, owner and cofounder
Army Navy Outdoors
www.armynavyoutdoors.com

Cash-flow watch

We are watching our cash flow more closely, in both accounts receivable and accounts payable. From the accounts receivable standpoint, we are schonning-photocontinuously expanding our customer base in both new product development and manufacturing, just in case one of our customers is not able to pay his or her bills. Accounts payable has also been overhauled, and we switched our phone service to VoIP (voice over Internet).

— Peter Schönning, president

Polyhistor International, Inc., product developers
www.phi2.com

 

Become debt-free

Here are a few tips I’ve shared with my clients and utilized myself in my practice:

  • Control the things you can control so you can cope with the things yousheila-photo can’t.
  • Research your job, company, expertise and other related fields. Stay aware of what is happening around you.
  • Become an expert. This is the time to stand out from the rest and shine. What is your added value? How can you become an invaluable resource to others?
  • Pay off your debts. Take control of your finances and question every charge or expense you have. Reconnect with friends and family. Most people think the work/life balance is a luxury. Now, more than ever, it is a means of survival.

—Sheila Green, founder and president,
Green Productivity Solutions, custom productivity solutions
www.sgps.biz

 

Back to basics

harvey-m-photo-3-09As a business owner, I’ve faced some tough decisions recently as a result of the economy. One large client’s decision to offshore the work that my staffing company was doing was a big reason to downsize and simplify. I find that it’s good to set aside the trappings of building a corporate entity and allow myself to get back to a simpler time. I find myself going back to the basics of my business services. And to the reason I wanted to work for myself — and really by myself — at the beginning. 

I think all of us are reassessing our priorities. The changes at Agency a la Carte just reflect that process.

—Mary B. Harvey, founder & CEO,
Agency a la Carte, staffing services
www.agencyalacarte.com


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